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Colorado’s Gay Governor Signs Gun Control Bills into Law in Wake of Club Q Shooting

Colorado’s Gay Governor Signs Gun Control Bills into Law in Wake of Club Q Shooting

Jared Polis at Club Q

The state has a history of mass shootings going back to the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999.

@wgacooper

As the U.S. continues to grapple with gun violence, Colorado has joined several other states in passing gun control legislation. The state’s out Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed four such bills on Friday, five months after the massacre at Club Q.

The new laws raise the buying age for any gun from 18 to 21, create a three-day waiting period between buying a firearm and then getting it, expand the state’s red flag laws, and remove certain legal protections for companies if their guns have defects.

“Today we are taking some important steps to help make Colorado one of the ten safest states, and building upon the ongoing work to make Colorado communities safer. Last year, I was proud to sign a comprehensive public safety plan of action into law to put Colorado on track to becoming one of the ten safest states in the nation, and this legislation today will improve public safety and reduce gun violence. I thank the bill sponsors for bringing this common-sense legislation to my desk,” said Polis in a statement.

Friday’s signing comes months after a shooter gunned down patrons of a gay club in Colorado Springs in November. Many others were injured in the violence that saw five people — Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Derrick Rump — killed. The alleged shooter is facing more than 300 charges related to the shooting.

“Coloradoans deserve to be safe in our communities, in our schools, in our grocery stores, in our nightclubs,” Polis said at the signing in his office, according to the Associated Press. Gun control advocates wearing red “Moms Demand Action” shirts stood with him as well as a mother of a victim of the Aurora theater shooting in 2012, and several students from a Denver high school that saw gun violence.

The Gun Violence Archive has tracked 174 mass shootings in 2023 so far. It counted 646 last year.

Gun rights groups are already suing over the laws related to raising the gun purchasing age and the waiting period.

Democrats passed the legislation even after filibusters from Republicans.

The laws look to stop increased suicides, youth violence, and mass shootings as well as provide openings for gun violence victims to sue manufacturers.

The state has a history of mass shootings going back to the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999.

“It’s a sad day for Colorado; we are becoming one of the most anti-Second Amendment states in the nation,” said Rep. Mike Lynch, the Republican minority leader, according to the AP.

Republican lawmakers called the laws attacks on residents’ Second Amendment rights.

The new red flag law — which is also called an extreme risk protection order — now allows more people to petition judges to temporarily remove one’s firearms. The previous iteration of the law limited those who could do so to family members, household members, and law enforcement. Now, those who work with youth — those who are at risk for suicide or attacking others — like doctors, mental health professionals, and teachers can do so.

The state has the sixth-highest suicide rate in the U.S., with nearly 1,400 in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Twitter, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre applauded the laws.

“Today, Colorado has enacted four common-sense gun reforms, including elimination of some of the barriers to holding gun manufacturers and dealers accountable,” she tweeted Friday. “Thank you, Colorado leaders and gun violence survivors, for this important step forward.”

Senate President Steve Fenberg, a Democrat and one of the bill's sponsors, said at the signing ceremony that Republicans and other gun control opponents say it’s always too soon after gun violence to do something.

"It isn’t too soon. It’s too late for so many of the lost souls," Fenberg shared. “We needed to have done more to prevent what happened.”

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.

@wgacooper
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